$100 million-plus Espy sale falls through due to venue shutdowns

$100 million-plus Espy sale falls through due to venue shutdowns

Words by Kate Streader

The massive eight-venue deal has been struck down by coronavirus restrictions.

Just days away from being finalised, a deal exceeding $100 million involving the sale of St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel and seven other Melbourne gastro pubs has been halted.

The deal was announced in early March and was set to see the iconic Melbourne pub changing hands from Sand Hill Road group to the Wall Street-backed Australian Venue Co.

Paul Waterson, CEO of Australian Venue Co., confirmed the status of the deal to Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, saying that the government-enforced shutdowns of pubs, restaurants and live music venues has been detrimental to the industry.

“If they are talking about a September reopening for our industry, you tell me whether BHP, Telstra or the Commonwealth Bank could survive zero revenue for six months with essentially 12 hours’ notice. I mean, in any industry, it’s catastrophic,” Mr Waterson told Sydney Morning Herald. 

While he warned that lengthy shutdowns could severely hurt the industry’s chance of bouncing back once restrictions are lifted, Waterson said Australian Venue Co. are interested in revisiting the deal with Sand Hill Road group when the time is right, if they are still looking to sell.

The announcement comes after our earnest interview with The Bendigo Hotel about the state of live music venues while another revered live music venue, The Gaso, has listed its business for sale.

We were unable to reach Australian Venue Co. for further comment.

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